Breath of Life, who is restoring all of creation,
In the midst of these endless winter days, free us of fear, help us to face our guilt and grant us your mercy so that our bodies and souls are readied to join in the transformation of the earth. Open us with each breath we take, further washing away any cynicism or mistrust. Stretch our bodies in ways that hold our communal life together. Remind us that faith is not simply a spiritual exercise but a physical experience. Prepare us for a future where your Presence is fully revealed in all of creation. Amen.
Builder of Bridges, who carries us across the span of each day,
Enliven us anew with our silent breathing. Use this moment to connect us with the power of your loving Presence. Give us wisdom to wait on the threshold of choices we make today. With what we cannot see, hold us in the pattern of your truth. Bring us alongside others who share our hopes. And when the day is over, realize in us that faith alone brings us across each divide. Amen.
Maker of Wonder, who brings us to awe in unexpected ways,
In this silent stream, examine our hearts and still our souls. We wait for Your loving Presence to transform our fear to gentle confidence. Prepare us, this day, to be those who find the treasures of peace and hope amongst those who are lonely, anxious and suffering in our families and communities. Bring us to rejoice in the connections shared through open hearts. Amen.
Hope is not wishful thinking, it is not wanting things to turn out a certain way. Hope is accepting all that is here and responding in trust for the future. Mary is our symbol of hope this season. Mary openly received the direction to head down an unknown road. She was affirmed through the messengers sent to join her on the way. She continued on, knowing that Joseph and Elizabeth were aware of all that was happening within her.
Hope is strengthened through sharing with others. Joseph held Mary’s hand the whole journey long, himself hoping for what was ahead. It was not easier or more comfortable, their questions was not answered immediately.
In fact, I am not sure you can have hope without vulnerability. What are you hoping for? Who is holding your hand? What is affirming you as you respond? These are the questions of the season.
We are not merely to survive this season. Hope is here.
The season of Advent is upon us. This is a season of waiting. As we wait,
we watch. We seek God’s active presence coming into the world. Maybe we are watching world news and want to see peace. Maybe we are waiting with a sick relative and want to see healing. Perhaps we are waiting with children and want to see love open wide in family life. Some of us wait by ourselves,
looking for a glimpse of Jesus coming toward us.
Waiting and prayer have a lot in common. Waiting is not inactive. We wait
with an openness to respond. We wait with a heart ready to help. We wait to
have God move us to share love. Christians most often have the dilemma
between choosing between two good options. Maybe this year we need to choose an option that helps us admit we need God to accomplish it. Maybe we need to choose to do the thing that moves us to more fully experience God’s presence and power at work in our lives. Maybe this is what it means for Christ to come again.
Some days it just doesn’t seem like we have enough, not enough time, not enough energy or support, not enough love. When disappointment runs deep, we cannot help but ask, “Where are you, God?”
If we dare, if we take courage and look beyond our limitations, stepping out into uncertainty, sure of only the One, there we find surprising mystery, there is the grace. At first, maybe a drop, and then a trickle, that leads us to the fountain of mercy and goodness that God intends. For each one of us, God’s plan is different, but we are all caught up in a universal experience of what is means to be human. Thanks be to our Lord Jesus, God knows the human experience intimately. And taught us thanksgiving anyway. “On the night in which we was betrayed, Jesus took bread and gave thanks.” (1 Corinthians 11:23) Amazing. Jesus knew his circumstances were dire, he knew he was headed to suffer and he did so with thanksgiving.
I don’t believe we get to the Great Full Season, until we have passed by the grateful season. We give thanks for everything, no matter how fleeting. No matter what our situation, we bless God and give thanks. Giving thanks helps us to gain new perspective, to see things we had not seen before. The Great Full Season arrives when we are able to let go of what we think we need, and find God in the dark, find God in the autumns of our lives when things are falling away. Let us enter the Great Full Season, placing our full trust in the fullness of glory that lies ahead.
I love to hike. There is something about entering a trail that draws you in to the quiet hush of nature. You find yourself surrounded you by leafy branches and whippoorwill. Your steps become intentional as you navigate around the occasional fallen tree. At the top of the mountain the hike gets steeper, just above tree line where the boulders and rock ledges provide tiny crevasses to get a foothold as you crawl up to the highest elevation. You haven’t seen the view from the top yet, but it is your single-hearted focus as your muscles burn and breathing quickens. This is my favorite part of the hike. Like the end of pregnancy, you love the baby inside of you and cannot wait to hold her, then realize you already are.
Think about that. What is the mountain you are climbing now? Which part of the path are you on? Are there others on the path ahead of you? What view of new life is emerging? Transformation is an ongoing process. Sometimes it seems like there is not too much going on. Perhaps things are happening at the cellular level, at the very least, oxygen is being exchanged, breath is moving, Spirit is alive.
In the already, wait wholeheartedly, for the not yet.
Post Script: My office renovation is waiting wholeheartedly for the recovery of our carpenter and friend who is receiving treatment for a medical issue.